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“Ο του θεού γάρ υιός Ιησούς Χριστός ο εν υμίν δι' ημών κηρυχθείς, ουκ έγένετο
Ναι και Ού, αλλά και εν αυτώ γέγονεν.-2 CoR. . 19.
Catholicism the religion of inclusion—a consequence of the Incarnation
The conciliation of Reason and Faith-of Individualism and Solidarity
- The conciliation of all philosophies—of all Religions—of Paganism-of Sectarianism—Catholicism demands universal toleration, its opposite is intolerance and persecution. YATHOLICISM is, as its name implies, that which is uni
, , versal, inclusive (kalolukós), and is opposed to that which is particular and exclusive.
A more appropriate name could not have been chosen for a religion which, recognizing an incarnate God as the universal conciliator, comprehends in itself, divested of their negations, all that is positive, and therefore true, in every religion, past, present and future.
If the hypothesis of the Incarnation be granted, as I have already laid down, this universalization of all faiths and philosophies follows as a logical consequence. Catholicism is therefore necessarily the synthesis, in its universal and indivisible unity, of all fragmentary truths contained in every philosopheme and religion, theory and rite, hitherto opposed; of all the thoughts, wills, and sentiments of the human race, thus harmonizing man's nature within himself, where hitherto there was antagonism; uniting all men, one with another, where there was discord; and attaching all humanity to God.
It holds together indivisibly all aspects of the many-faced individual and collective life of mankind by its Ideal, who, being simultaneously love, knowledge, and activity, responds at once to all the faculties and all the harmonies of the heart, the reason and the will, concluding all in infinite charity, absolute verity, and supreme happiness.
In this chapter I propose to consider the conciliation by the Ideal of all those antinomies I have signalized in a former chapter, and that conciliation I call Catholicism.
In the first place, then, we will consider the unification of the Rational and Sentimental antinomy, of Individualism and Solidarity.
God," said Plato,“ has given us two wings to raise us to Him, love and reason.” Their hymen is accomplished in the Ideal.
“To know God is to love Him," said one saint. “To love God is to know Him," observed another. Thus, the unity of science and charity reveals itself to the soul.
Love is the sense of the universal and indefinable, and reason is that of the particular and defined. The incarnate Word, being absolute reason and love, manifests His nature to us through the two faculties which constitute us. The perfect conception of the Ideal implies the simultaneous action of heart and head, the first conceiving Him as infinite love, in order that He may become for the second absolute verity, so that reason may be the intelligible form of universal charity, and love may be the living sentiment of infinite intelligence.
Every one of us has in himself a twofold revelation; every creature is, as the apostle says, the manifestation of a divine perfection. This revelation, or determination of the Deity in ourselves develops itself in sentiments, thoughts, and desires. But this personal revelation in each is also relative to all, and each revelation may become the property of all by communication, so that all these sentiments may be united, all these thoughts may be added together, all these wills
may move in concert. Man being both an individual and a social being, feels, thinks, and wills for himself, and also for society. His feelings, thoughts, and will act outwards upon a wide circle, and set other feelings, thoughts,
, and wills in motion, whilst those of other men excite and stimulate his own.
If God,placing the attributes of each man under the seal of an eternal limit, had said to him, “ Thus far shalt thou go, and no further," each man, enclosed within this insurmountable barrier, might have questioned the Divine Justice for having refused to him what was given to another. But God has, on the contrary, made the talents of one to be the property of all, so that “none of us liveth or dieth to himself," and has given to all an unlimited power of acquisition, for the purpose of perpetually assimilating the gifts of others.
Humanity is not like a bundle of sticks, a cluster of hardly outlined microcosms, nor an arithmetical addition of integers, but is a body constituted, after the fashion of the human body, of adapted members, living, throbbing and moving as one.
The charge has been brought against Christianity that it is a religion of selfishness or of unbalanced individualism, 1 Rom. i. 20.
2 Rom. xiv, 7.
as its aims are the salvation of the individual soul. This is true and not true. Inasmuch as man has personality he must be more or less selfish in his interests; inasmuch as he is a social being, he must be more or less altruistic. Christianity sets before man both objects, the salvation of himself and the salvation of the race, but it blends the one with the other so indissolubly that it is impossible to distinguish the act of religious self-seeking from the act of religious self-forgetfulness. The life of the Christian Ideal was one of complete self-renunciation, yet, as S. Paul says, it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross, despising the shame. The well-being of one depends more or less on the well-being of all, and the advantage of one is the advantage of all. As a mediæval writer puts it: “In a well-ordered house, all share in the work of all, and in the profit of all. If the brother works abroad, the sister attends to the house at home. One brings money in, another lays it out in household matters, and the work of each advantages the other, and the gain of one benefits all. So is it in the house of Christ. One reads, another fasts; one prays, another gives alms, and another again suffers corporal or spiritual infirmities. Does each labour and endure for himself alone? By no means. You profit by my reading, I by your fasting, one receives advantage by the almsgiving of another, and the suffering of one is profitable for example to the other. I am a partaker in the treasure of my brother. We partake in the prayers and merits of all—of all in earth and all in heaven, of those whose prayers are clogged with human infirmity here, and of those who are made perfect in the presence of God. This is a great solace to the faithful. For if any one is detained through infirmity, or has no leisure for pious acts and prayers, he may remember the many sacrifices offered in the Church, and say, 'I am a companion (partaker) of all them that fear Thee and keep Thy commandments” (Ps. cxix. 63). By the union of love and pious intent you partake in the good things of others. If weak in body, or otherwise hindered in austerities, think of the many Religious in fastings, sackcloth and ashes. If weak in soul, think of the many who have waxed valiant in fight, and have conquered. For the Church is the Communion of Saints, in which all good things are common to all, not one special faith for the rich and another for the povr, one hope for the prince and another for the people; but, as in a city all share in the same rights of citizenship, in the same streets, the protection of the same walls, the same fountains, walks, and markets, so is it with us. And he who builds a beautiful house, builds for the whole city to admire, and he who erects a conduit sets it up for the advantage of all the citizens.” 1
God, the principle and the end of all, gives Himself to all to multiply indefinitely His gifts one by the other, and to distribute them, thus illimitably augmented, through each to all. Associated in this work of universal solidarity, we reunite all the scattered fragments of God's perfection manifested in ourselves.
Man cannot possibly be absolute, he is altogether partial and relative. The good, the beautiful, and the true to one man may be very different from the good, the beautiful, and the true to another man, but the aspect seen by each man is an aspect of the Absolute. One aspect alone, if insisted on to the negation and exclusion of other aspects, is erroneous erroneous inasmuch as it negatives and excludes, but in itself it is true. To recompose the whole body of truth, it is necessary to accept every aspect, and to weave them together into an indissoluble unity.
1 Marchantii Hortus Pastorum. Paris, 1628.