BLESSED ARE THE PURE OF HEART, FOR THEY SHALL SEE GOD.

There is no greater mistake or one rife with more fatal consequences than to defend what one perceives to be the honour of God at the cost of the realities of life. Yet it is not uncommon for devout persons to argue a priori as to what they conceive God should do rather than as to what He actually does or permits. Job’s comforters strove to console him by expounding upon him a theory of God’s government of the world, which his experience had proven to be contrary to facts; indeed the sufferings which he was enduring were permitted in order to clear his mind from the harmful and destructive influence of the very same theory they were expounding. A faith that can live only under the shelter of ignorance, or by closing our eyes to the visible realities around us, will not be of much use when we are brought face to face with the sombre and perplexing facts of life.  We can be confident that a faith which is to be defended at the cost of truth is not itself true and is not worth defending.

The Revelation that God has given us of His own character, is the Revelation of the moral attributes of Him who is the Creator and Ruler of the world in which we live. This world with all its disconcerting problems we are meant to know and study, the Revelation if true cannot be in opposition to what we see and know. We will never be called upon, in the interests of Revelation, to close our eyes to what we see, or to repudiate what we know to be true. The educated Catholic faces and studies life courageously, with the certainty that, though he may find much that he cannot explain or understand, he will find nothing that is contrary to what is revealed to faith.

Now whatever our theories may be of what God should reasonably do for mankind, it is without question that there are many who to all appearance God seem to have placed in circumstances that almost seem to ensure their failure. Things just seem to oppose them, and they do not have the courage or power, or whatever is needed, to rise above or through these problems. If only circumstances had been a little less unfavourable, or rather, less absolutely against them, if they had had one good chance, many a persons life would have been very different. We see men like swimmers battling bravely against the currents, and at last capitulate, drained, by a power that is to all appearances far too strong for them.

Of course we cannot see into another’s heart, nevertheless we can judge from what we do see, given insight by what we do know from our own personal experiences. No doubt we should have a firm a grasp of the Hand of Christ that however the swell of the waves and storms may be against us we are safe. But we pitiful creatures of destiny, knowing life as we see it and feel it, know full well the horrendous influences of the things that are seen, and how sombre and unpredictable the storm and stress appear the things that are not seen.

Indeed our Lord Himself tells us how strong the force of circumstance is, and how with other opportunities men would have been better: “Woe to you, Chora′zin! woe to you, Beth-sa′ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.” (Luke 10:13)

According to our Lord’s own words, things were not then, as favourable for the inhabitants of the cities of Tyre and Sidon as they were for those of the cities of Galilee in His time. No doubt the men of Tyre will not be judged either by the standard or opportunities of the men of Chora′zin and Beth-sa′ida. And no doubt if we could look into the hearts of men, we should find how each of those who had undergone the pressure of circumstances had had his chance, the offers of grace, and felt perhaps the first movements of another current that would have counteracted the pressure of the forces around him. But who can tell? Each has but his own experience to draw from and from which he can judge of all pros and cons of his victory over external things. Such knowledge can but fill us with charity in our discernment of those who go under and are carried along in the ferocious undercurrent of circumstance.

Still I suppose that there is no one who has failed yet notices that at least he need not have failed as badly as he did, and can in looking back recognise, openings and opportunities to which if he had been in harmony with, the outcome would have been quite different.

But when all has been said and done, we can only feel that the whole thing is a puzzle; that if men demand an explanation it cannot be given at least on this side of earthliness, and that we can but cling to two things of which we Catholics at least are absolutely certain. First, that God is just, and demands of no person more than He gives them the power to do. Therefore He judges a person not by hard and fast rule or standard, but gives due consideration  and weight to everything, situation, circumstances, temperament and training. That the person with the one talent was not condemned because he did not do the work of the person with five, but because he did not do what a person with one talent could or ought to have done. “I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?” (Luke 19:22). His own insignificant excuses formed the substance upon which his judgment was based. And secondly, we know that God is love, and does not want that any should perish, but that all should be saved; and that love does not see the worst in those that are loved but only the best, does not carefully examine everything that is done to see if it can find anything to condemn, but rather to praise, and that we are to be judged at the last day not by an enemy, but, if I may say so, a lover, and that He judges rather by what is aimed at than by what is accomplished. We therefore with reassurance we recall the words of St. John: whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20).

But there are times when it seems as if God Himself is the one who places us in difficulties — difficulties under which, alas, many of us fail! When it would be inconceivable without false-heartedness to understand the Will of God, or the affirmations of religion, to avoid entering upon some situation fraught with danger and temptation. Saul was called by God to be the first King of Israel, which proved to be Saul’s ruin. Judas was called to be an Apostle “Have I,” said our Lord, “chosen you twelve” — and failed completely. And no doubt we know in our own experience not a few who were doing very well in an ordinary course of life, but were forced by the very honourable motives, and in obedience to the evident Will of God, into a more important position of responsibility and peril where they made a devastation of their lives.

Test-me-O-Lord-and-tryI am of the opinion that in such cases it is helpful to remember this — that such failures cannot be attributed so readily as it seems to the mere fact of the change of position and surroundings, but probably to some intrinsic weakness of character, or some fault which the more sheltered life failed to bring to light or to remedy. But it was there, and for the development and sanctification of the soul it was necessary that it should be dealt with. We are not placed on earth to be sheltered from temptation, but to be tried and tested and developed. “My son,” said the wise man Yeshua ben Sira, “My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation.” The Psalmist who had entered into the Mind of God, cries “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. He asks not for refuge but to be tested.

Now it generally happens that after a certain time we get all that can be got out of a place and circumstance in which we find ourselves. Just like a tree that has not room to grow, we need, to be transplanted. We may carry on living the rest of our lives where we are, and never do anything distinctly bad or distinctly good. But we should never get to know ourselves better, or to do the real work of life. There are in us probably faults of character traits which only need certain circumstances to be brought to light. Character has the capacities for good and evil which have got to be tested. Our present setting has done for us all that it could, we must move on. A boy learns all that one teacher can teach him and he moves on to another; perhaps one of the first lessons he learns from the change is how much he actually does not know. Most young people who have been brought up at home and have never had the rough handling or healthy criticism at school, loose something which is far more difficult to gain in later walks of life. They have been shielded, no doubt, but they have neither a knowledge of themselves or a true measure and outlook on life that they would have gained, and should to have gained, during their development.

Consequently, having learnt the lessons that are to be learnt in one area we are called to another; we must either move forward or we stagnate, we would be unable to grow further where we are. There are perils, perhaps great perils, in the transition, yet we have to face up to these challenges; there are far greater risks, though of a different type, in remaining where we are.

And so it happens that the Providence of God leads many a person to go either go downhill or uphill, to or towards that place, from this place to that from a position of dependency to one of authority; from a secure and comfortable home to a place animated with insecurity and danger; from crowds to solitude, or solitude to crowds; from a place where every privilege and help of religion can be had to one where he is propelled singly upon God without access to the Sacraments, and all this so that ones character may be evaluated, proved and rounded off on all sides, and every fault and weakness brought to light, thus allowing it to be corrected.

Beatitudes

Such an undertaking is undoubtably full of risks and fraught with danger, and under this strain many fail, yet it should always be remembered that the person who fails before the eyes of the world and under great difficulties and temptations may be no worse, or rather, may be much better, than the person whose whole life has been a slipping away from danger and responsibility, a sheltering themselves behind others, refusing to face up to things whose failures have been perhaps rather more negative than positive, if idleness, cowardice and selfishness are negative. Is it not preferable to know our deficiencies and failings than have them and not be aware of them, more advantageous, I think, to fail in the midst of a noble effort than not to fail because there has been nothing at all noble or involved in ones efforts throughout ones entire life.

The Beatitude of the pure of heart brings this out.

The Beatitude developed within the soul a characteristic which draws out the best facet of a person, and retains all that which is most harsh and cruel. The merciful will obtain mercy, and see the world at its best. And yet its enterprise is in the world. This kindly and gentle nature is not to isolate itself. On the contrary, it is to live amongst humankind, and humanity who in its presence put forward all the very best in themselves. Besides we know what an attractive place the world is even when it reveals its unattractive side to us; how beguiling it can be for us; how hard it is, even when it turns its back on a person and treats them with a harshness of which it alone is capable, how hard it is to resist its enchantment.

And this is the world into which every Catholic is dispatched so as to make it even more attractive! To draw out, even if its only for a moment, that spirit of mercy towards others which it needs so much. He is not to come out from the world unless because of some special vocation and leave it to sink in its own corruption. On the contrary, a Catholic is to act as the yeast which mixes with the flour to animate and vitalise it with a new vivacity.  The wheat is to grow in the midst of the tares; the wise and foolish virgins are side by side. The Church must externalise  itself and merge with the world, so as to imbue it with her doctrine, and to overcome all the evil that is within it by performing good works.

And what is the Church in this sense of the word, as mixing in the sociopolitical, capitalistic world, but individual, often isolated universal Catholics. A priest cannot go and preach in a nightclub or at the Stock Exchange. But those Catholics whose position in life places them there can preach if not by words at least by their conduct. It is in this manner that we act as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. People who are described as ‘the salt of the earth’ are those who are of great worth and reliability.

But such a position is fraught with serious danger, for fear that, instead of converting others they themselves are converted to the ways of the world, made more beautiful, if but for the moment, by their presence. Yet this danger is not eluded by evading ones duty, or the mere spineless fleeing from ones trials and tribulations. There are lessons to be learnt, characteristics to be developed, trials to which the soul needs to be exposed to. Running away from the circumstances in which God has placed you and the mission He has given you to do, and you fail the testing and development you can get there alone, you escape one danger by exposing yourself to yet another and perhaps far greater.

Therefore this Beatitude follows: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God”. Blessed are those who living in the midst of the world keep their standards unsullied and undimmed by all the lowering influences around them.

Now there are broadly speaking two classes of persons to whom this is specially difficult.

1. There are those who have the natural gift of sympathy, whose natures are widely open to all the currents and influences of human life, who delight to live in the midst of their fellow-creatures, and to feel about them the movements of life and the contact of others. They are open and easy of access, and easy to get on with; people who at once win your confidence, and even before they open their lips make you feel that you would find no difficulty in speaking to them.

2. And there are others who are self-contained and reserved, who, if they have deep feelings and are deeply moved have the misfortune of not being able to let others see it. Whatever may be going on beneath the surface, the surface is calm and cold and sometimes repellent. Often indeed such persons inwardly are very different, they long to break through the barriers and get out. Strong emotion, deep feeling, intense excitement cannot find utterance, they are expressed in awkward words that leave a false impression. What they long to say freezes upon their lips and sounds hopelessly inadequate in their own ears. The fire that is in their hearts dies cold and chilled when they would give it expression. Sometimes some little natural defect, awkwardness of manner, timidity or shyness, holds them back from a life they long to live, and from intercourse with those whom they long to know. It is all there, a very volcano of feeling and intensity. But they pass amongst men as chilling, unsympathetic, inhuman.

Now each of these class of persons living in the great world has his own special difficulties in keeping his heart pure from the lowering influences amidst which his lot is cast.

It is one thing to classify sins in the cold catalogue of words. It is a very different thing to see these sins committed by men and women who are nothing if they are not charming, attractive and refined.

For instance, you know that insincerity is a very odious thing, that an insincere person is one who never can be trusted and ought never under any circumstances to be encouraged. And yet with this knowledge clear before your mind you spend a delightful half-hour talking to a person who scarcely takes the trouble to conceal his insincerity, saying things to please you which you know are not true and which neither he nor you believes. And thinking it over you have to convince yourself again that all this charming unreality is really as much a sin against truth as a vulgar lie told you by a beggar in the street. Uncharitable words we know are wrong we are warned against them in the Gospels, their sinfulness is impressed upon us in all the spiritual books; it is very wrong to pick your neighbours, character to pieces. But when it is done in a very amusing way and with a keen sense of the ridiculous, and as a further factor by a person who is refined and sympathetic, it is problematic to feel that there is much harm in it. The brilliantly clever and daring way in which some of my ideals were treated in a light conversation, half-banter and half-earnest, by a man or woman of the world who showed experience and a knowledge of the world in the turn of every phrase, hid the subtle poison that flowed through it all, and made me feel for the first time somewhat behind the times, and as if my ideals were somewhat repressed and out of the ark.

We know well as Catholics the sacredness of the marriage law and the strong condemnation by our Lord of those who put away the partner of their marriage and marry another. But when one very near and dear to us, under shelter of the law of the land, violates the law of God and lives openly in legalised adultery, and when we meet such a person and find to our astonishment that she does not seem to have deteriorated in other ways, and is recognised by the world as one living in the lawful state of matrimony, it is difficult to realise that the wrong is just the same as though it had not the shelter of the law. That the sin is no less odious than if it were flaunted beneath the gas lamps of the street with all the squalid misery of painted cheeks and shabby finery.

Sins interpreted in terms of human personality, and often a very charming personality, quickly become transformed. I think most of us know one or two persons who, for the moment at least, could take the ugliness out of almost any sin and give it a certain graciousness. Words spoken by human lips sound very different from those same words upon the cold page of a book. Life, personality, passion, breathe through them and seem to burn out the inherent coarseness and vulgarity of their bald meaning. Good women will marry men whom they know to be thoroughly bad; the badness which in the abstract they would fiercely resent, they more than condone in the concrete. We often hear it said, “I like so and so in spite of his faults,” and yet it would be well within the truth to say, “ I like even his faults, actually, I like him because of his faults”.  He has a way of making his faults attractive.

It is true, we all know it and feel it. Sin considered in itself as a violation of the law of God and of our own nature is an ugly thing, but in the concrete, and revealed in the charming atmosphere of an attractive personality, it is very different. There are diseases, often loathsome and deadly, which give an added beauty and refinement to their victims. The autumn leaf has a splendour of its own, and the setting sun  in the fierce glory of its decline attracts many who would be unmoved by the chaste beauty of its rising. And sin is death moral and spiritual death. And therefore for those who are naturally sympathetic there is a danger from constantly living in the society of people whose aims and standards are so different from their own. They see and hear things done and said in the easy and pleasant manner of those about them that in the quiet of their own room their conscience condemns. Are these things really so bad as they were taught to believe? Are they not a little prudish? Are they to cultivate the spirit of a prig and condemn what is done by men and women who are in many ways far better than themselves?

We read the Decalogue, and its interpretation and application by our Lord, and we see the men and women who in their faulty way try to obey it. We know nothing of the inner struggle, the brave efforts, the penitence for the many failures. We see only the result. A character full of inconsistencies; here and there some fair virtue in a very worthless and tarnished setting, a person who seems to be constantly hampered by an over-anxious conscience, and one not very comfortable to live with. And then we see others who go with the currents that are around them, who never protest, never are shocked, but fall in with perfect ease with the ways and lives of the easy-going world, who have a pleasant smile for the weaknesses of human nature, and do not ask or expect much from it as long as it keeps itself within the limits of decency. The natural human sympathy, which is a thing most good in itself, one of the great attributes of our Lord, tends to soften our judgments not merely of the people who do these things, which is quite right, but of the wrong things that are done.

How can an abstract cold standard have a chance against living types of character. How can Moses with his Law written on two tables of stone, even though they be written by the Finger of God, stand against Aaron and the daughters of Israel dancing round the golden calf. No wonder that he threw them from him in despair and broke them to atoms. The cold chaste standards of a rigid orthodoxy, whether in doctrine or manners, has a poor chance in presence of the warm palpitating life of human beings who to all appearance get on so well without them. Surely God should have known His world better.

And then there are the other class. Those who are not or who cannot show that they are sympathetic, living in the midst of the world, yet shut out from its intimacy by the barriers of their unconquerable reserve. It is impossible to live in constant intercourse with people and not be influenced by them in some way. The mere presence of another person in the room cannot be ignored, or treated as one would treat a piece of furniture. Somehow it affects us, we feel it all over. A silent person in the room gets on one s nerves. We want to break the silence to find some point of contact. We feel as if two persons thrown together for any length of time ought to be in some sort of communication with one another, the solidarity of the human race demands it. And if there be no intercourse there are mysterious actions of one upon the other that operate like mesmeric currents and attract or repel or set up a kind of psychic irritation.

And this, and far more than this, is felt in a crowd of people. A crowd fills the air with sympathy and creates a mysterious atmosphere of its own. We become moved and excited in a crowd as we are nowhere else. Reserve seems thrown aside, the air is charged with electricity.

Now those who are daily living under such circumstances, in the midst of people whom they are constantly thrown with, and yet shut out from, because of their shyness or reserve must suffer keenly from their exclusion.

It will either make them bitter, cynical, more aloof; they will find themselves constantly passing judgment upon those who say and do things that they would give the world to be able to say and do ; or it will make them, in their desperation, daring and reckless. They cannot merely stand apart and find pleasure in the enjoyment of others. They get to hate them for having what they have not, or they are prepared to do anything to be as they are.

I think there is no one capable of such daring, per haps even of such badness, as the woman who wants to throw herself into the tumultuous life around her and is held back by the fact that she has not the natural gifts that would bring her to the front. The restraints that she chafes against, the things that she sees and hears, and interprets perhaps as even worse than they are, all prepare her for a reckless plunge when she gets the chance. If she has been religiously brought up she revolts against the standards which she tries to imagine hold her back. The beauty and easy ways of human life from which she is shut out, rouses in her a fierce antagonism against what she considers the narrow lines of her training, and her rebellious and bitter spirit throws them to the winds and tears them to tatters at the first chance she gets.

Indubitably if the Church is the training place for holiness and the Vision of God, the world with its cheery disregard for all that is serious, and its easy standards and its broad toleration and its appearance of refinement even in what is immoral, is the enemy of God.

Yet it cannot be left to itself and its corruptions. The claims of duty call multitudes of Catholics into it. Indeed the one breakwater against the ever-rising tide of sin and complete disregard of God and His commandments is the presence of the Church in her midst.

Therefore the great danger to those who know the truth and the right and are constantly in contact with those whose ways and standards are different, is that of losing tone, of feeling that after all we must take things as we find them, and that Catholics are apt to be too rigid and a little narrow in their judgments of men and things, and that it is a good thing for them to rub shoulders with men and women who think and act differently. But they do not see that this often means that the salt loses its flavour and is trodden under the feet of men.

How then is it possible for them to live in the midst of all this lowering atmosphere and to keep themselves unspotted from the world?

One thing I think is clear. No mere abstract standard of right and truth can hold out for long against the overwhelming influence of human life when it is not gross, but on the contrary when, even in its vices, it is cultivated and refined, and repudiates as much as any Catholic, though from different motives, all that is vulgar and degrading in sin. What chance can law have in comparison with life? Or the cold voice that forbids and commands, against the warm radiating influences that flow forth from living beings, throbbing with vitality. Who does not know the dissolving effect of a well-loved voice and presence upon a resolution formed in the solitude of one s own chamber? Who has not experienced how quickly the piercing voice of conscience can be argued into silence if it be only for one fatal moment? “It is not good for a person to be alone”; the law of his nature compels them to form companionships and friendships, and these are, for good or evil, the strongest influences upon their life.

How then can people find an influence strong enough to counteract the lowering effect of the moral tone which surrounds them?

There is but one way. Personal influence must be met by personal influence. Nothing else is strong enough or real enough. A law will not do, it must be a person. Many a character has been strengthened and transformed by a noble friendship which gave a concrete and living expression to the hazy ideals that were not strong enough to counteract the surrounding influences.

We need to see the beauty of goodness in order to realise the ugliness of sin, in however seductive a form  it may clothe itself. We need the vision of human life, as God designed it, that we may be dissatisfied with what humankind has made it. But not a vision drawn by some artist’s hand or described by some great writer, but one that is alive and close to us, with whom we can hold communion and live in closest friendship, one who is wholly free from all those weaknesses and idiosyncrasies which mar and disfigure the beauty of holiness. It is only a Living Being that can counteract the mighty currents of the life that surges around us at full tide. It is only a human heart that can break the spell of human influence that drags us down. The fair and noble Form of the central Figure of the Gospel, drawn however vividly upon the page of a Book, bid ding the weary and heavy laden come to Him for rest, is not enough. The Voice grows dim and inarticulate when heard amidst the living voices around us singing with passion and excitement, the Form seems cold and pale and ghostlike compared with those of warm flesh and blood which press upon us on all sides.

We need more than this, we need the living Presence of Him of whom the Gospels speak, alive and close to us to-day, to Whom we can turn in the hour of need, Whose influence we can feel more potent than that of any one on earth.

And this is given us in the Person of our Lord. The centre, the life, the mainspring of the Christian Faith.

And yet we are so used to the attraction of imperfect humanity, that at first the character of a perfect individual disturbs and disappoints us. We admire physical courage more than moral courage, a certain reckless ness more than self-control, one who loves the things of this world more than one who is ready to sacrifice all for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. We have so long associated certain faults, even grave sins, with our idea of courage, that a sinless person seems almost cowardly. It can be a shock to many women to find that the man she loves is innocent of undeniable sins; to her he seems to be lacking in bravery. A Christian mother, it seems, would love her boy more if he retaliated rather than if he turned the other cheek to the smiter.

In every sphere we need to be educated to enable us to appreciate the most flawless, beautiful and marvellous. In art and literature, as well as in character, the admiration of the multitude is given to what is within its reach, that which is faulty and imperfect. Perfection is at once a revelation and a guidance. Only those who have been studious can appreciate the works of the great prophets, the great revealers of splendour and beauty. And only those who study the life of our Lord and draw near to Him in close communion and intimate friendship see and know in Him the perfect beauty of moral perfection.

Therefore, we need to correct the erroneous perception of our experience in life by educating ourselves with other experiences. To realise the mutilating effects of sin, by close association with the perfect type of person He who is “the chief amongst ten thousand and altogether lovely”.

In Nature the perceptions of the eye often need to be corrected by reasoned deductions. In a spiritual life this should be, if possible, even more prevalent. The false impressions of life have to be corrected by the clear vision of faith. We need a person to correct the influence of persons. A person whose goodness is the most attractive the world has ever seen, to show us how deceptive and unreal this attraction is of that which is evil.

Sermon on the Mount

The moral and ethical teaching of our Lord are, therefore, bound up in Himself. He did not come to promulgate a law, but to reveal a Character. Compare the Gospel with the ancient law and we can at once see the difference. The law went into the minutest details, forbidding this and commanding that. There was scarcely a circumstance in the domestic, social, economic and religious life of the Hebrew people that the law did not have something to say about. It said “do this and ye shall live”. The ethical and spiritual teaching of our Lord is summed up in one brief sentence, “If thou wilt be perfect, follow Me”.

They know little of human nature, its passions and its weaknesses who can imagine that the teaching of Christ can be separated from Him, and that the exalted moral standard which He gave the world would long hold sway over humankind whose hearts were not touched by His love. It is not His teaching that changed a disbelieving world into the Christian, it is He Himself. “If ye love Me? He said, “keep My commandments.” His love is at once the motive and the power of obeying His teaching. Let the Personal influence of our Lord be removed from the world, and His teaching would follow soon after.

The vivid realisation of His Person as a living entity of love and source of power can only be kept alive by the faithful practice of His religion. Our Lord in founding the Catholic Church knew human nature better than we know ourselves. He knew that our nature is complex and must be reached in many ways and through many channels.

The great doctrine of the Incarnate Christ upon the throne of God, the Mediator and the Life of all His people, is like a priceless gemstone set in precious metal. It is surrounded by other doctrines, devotions and practices, by which it is brought home to the minds of the faithful and kept alive within their hearts. And it would be true to declare that every one of these doctrines and devotions is fixed upon this conclusion.

jesus Mary and MarthaThe minds of ordinary people would be unable to hold on to the lengthy doctrine and purpose of the Incarnation if bereft of all those truths and devotional practices which support, sustain and uphold it, feeding the mind and igniting the heart, and forge it, acting through many channels, as a living reality to them. The Blessed Sacrament upon the altar, the centre of devotion and the fountain of the Church’s strength, forces upon peoples minds, should they fail to recall it, the reality of our Lords Humanity living still in all its perfection, which teaches us that the Incarnate God is our food. The Mass with all its Sacred Rites teaches the most poorly educated the living efficacy of the Atonement, and brings its infinite power to bear upon each individual soul. The Sacrament of penance made more real to each penitent such scenes in the Gospel as those in which our Lord pardons Mary Magdalene and says to the sinful woman, “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more,” and who promises Paradise to the penitent thief. The devotion to the Blessed Mother of God is not, as some would suppose, a rival for the devotion to Her Son, it keeps before human kind the reality of the nature which He assumed.

Christ is in fact omnipresent, and in every act of His Church which is its core fire, its heart, its life, living for Him and as a result of Him, and making His Presence an eternal source of power to the minds and hearts of His people.

And thus it is through the constant and faithful practice of our Religion that those who are called to live substantially in the world will receive the antidote to its poison, and the stimulant which will strengthens them against the diminishing influence of its moral environment. They see the Beauty of Holiness in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the evil of sin regardless of how charming a guise it may present itself. For through the practice of our religion our Lord is merged into our hearts and minds, and His Person stands out in bold relief against the background of the shifting scenes around them. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” It is this purity of heart, of keeping unblemished the Ideals of our faith, that ultimately equips the soul for the Vision of God. And it is only by always keeping the Vision of God Incarnate before us that we can maintain this purity.

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