Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The higher the religion the more all-pervading is its "givenness", until in Christianity we find a religion whose very life is divine. Insistence upon the necessity of the Christian Faith is no mere intellectual conservatism, but loyalty to given truth; insistence upon the necessity of the Christian Sacraments no mere delight in ceremonies, but the acceptance of given life; its emphasis from start to finish and in all departments is upon the action of God... not upon the action of man...

This doctrine does not in any way impugn the freedom of the human will -- there must always be a human response to the divine action, a response which is real and not forced; but where it is rght it is a response, and not self-initiated. When we come to the Christian Religion we find that which is uniquely given in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life.

If this is so it is clear that the Christian life is essentially supernatural. It is the ignoring or denying of this element which is the cause of most of the ineffectiveness of present-day religion. Supernatural religion is not popular, but that does not make it untrue. Protestantism dislikes it, the Reformation was largely a movement for its dethronement; Modernism dislikes it - the pathetic desire to find a merely human Christ and the condemnation of sacramental action as "magic" attest as much; Science dislikes it because it appears to the scientist to introduce an incalculable and undemonstrable element into Nature; the Man in the Street dislikes it because it is beyond his comprehension, and it is a common human weakenss to fear and therefore to hate the unknown; it remains for the catholic uncompromisingly to nail his colours to the mast and live supernaturally, confident that on that level alone will he find fully Him for Whom his soul thirsts.
- From The Elements of the Spiritual Life: A Study in Ascetical Theology by F.P. Harton, sometime Dean of Wells

From Fr Will Brown.

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