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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Thoughts on Belief and Unbelief

This morning, as I have been typing these posts, my thoughts keep running back to Christoper Hitchens. I cannot help but think of him and his refusal to use the intellect which God granted him for finding the great love which could have comforted him.

He could have been a saint. Both Cardinal Manning and Fr. Chad Ripperger have told us of the greatest value of study and prayer.

It is very interesting to me that both St. Angela of Foligno and Cardinal Manning, writing 700 years apart or so, tell us about the first Book which must study.  Cardinal Manning states that the first book we must study is God. St. Angela tells us the Book of Christ is the beginning of our study and meditation on the road to perfection.

Cardinal Manning writes that the second most important book we can study is that of Jesus Christ Himself.

The third book is your own self. Manning says this: “When you have the light of God and the vision of the perfections of Jesus Christ in your intellect, then look into your own hearts. See what is your own state, and shape, and colour in the sight of God.”

Self-knowledge is essential for purgation and the attainment of perfection. Would that the great mind of Christopher Hitchens could have studied these three books? May God grant him mercy.

Manning sorrowfully writes that the 19th century has created the “greatest intellectual monster which the world has ever seen—an atheist, a man who denies the existence of God. And why does he deny his existence/ Because he has no perception of purity, of sanctity, of justice, of mercy, of truth—that is, of the moral perfections which constitute the character of the law as the transcript of the Lawgiver.”

Such are the men of the 21st century as well, and many call themselves “Catholic”…

Manning states that the highest act of reason is to believe in the Divine Teacher, and, to submit one’s intellect to the Catholic Church.

The action which follows is most noble-to share with others what has been given freely. 

“Nothing can be compared to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Give it freely. Spread abroad this knowledge by word and deed; spread it right and left. Break the Bread you have received to all who stand in need of it. ‘Cast your bread upon the water, and you shall find it after many days.’ ‘In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening hold not they hand, for thou knowest not which shall prosper.’ You shall find it in the great harvest home upon the eternal hills. ‘They that are learned [that is, with the science of God and of salvation] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that have instructed many unto justice as the stars to all eternity.’’

May God have mercy on me for attempting to do my little bit…

To be continued…