Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Doctors Speak

From the last good Jesuit besides Louis Cardinal Billot:

''God wanted man to know him somehow through his creatures and since no creature could fittingly reflect the infinite perfection of the Creator, he multiplied his creatures and gave a certain goodness and perfection to each of them so that from them we could judge the goodness and perfection of the Creator, who embraces infinite perfection in the perfection of his one and utterly simple essence, just as a gold coin contains the value of many copper coins. My soul, when anything seems wonderful strikes your eye or your thought, make it a ladder to recognise the Creator's perfection which is incomparably greater and more wonderful. This way created objects which have become a 'snare to the feet of the unwise' (Wis 14:11), as the Book of Wisdom teaches, will not mislead you but will teach you; they will not cast you down but direct you upward toward better things. Therefore, if you encounter gold or silver or jewels, you will say in your heart, ''My God is more precious, who promised to give me himself if I despise these things.'' If you marvel at kingdoms and earthly empires, say in your heart, ''How much greater is the kingdom of heaven which endures forever and which God, who does not lie, promised to those who love him.'' If pleasures and delights begin to titillate your sensuality, say in your heart, ''The pleasure of the spirit is much more enjoyable than the pleasure of the flesh, and intellectual delights are much more enjoyable than those of the belly.'' The first come from a perishable creature, the second come from the God of all consolation. He who tastes the latter can say with the Apostle, ''I am filled with comfort, and I overflow with joy in all our troubles'' (2 Cor 7:4). Finally, if you are offered something beautiful, new, unusual, great, or wonderful on condition that you desert your God, answer serenely, ''Whatever good they possess and much more and better are beyond doubt to be found in God.'' Therefore, it would be useless to trade a gilded coin for gold, glass for a precious gem, little for much, the uncertain for the certain, and the temporal for the eternal.

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