MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 1. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.
St John of God with an Angel
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE
1. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
I. "All men are vain in whom there is not the knowledge of God" (Wisd. xiii. 1). Ignorance and want of reflection^ about divine things are two fruitful sources of anxiety, ; doubt, discontent, and sin in the world. " With desolation is all the land made desolate, because there is none that considereth in his heart" (Jer. xii. 11). We need, not only to have learnt once for all, but to revolve continually in our minds, the great truths which God has revealed. The will, which is the embodiment of human energy, is a blind faculty, and, if left to itself, stumbles in the darkness ; the intelligence is the torch that guides its footsteps. The intelligence must be formed by the knowledge of God and meditation on Him in order to be adequate to its great task ; otherwise the will cannot burn with affection towards God and crave for moral goodness. We need this light always burning before us to illumine our path and help us to pick our steps. How great is the blindness and how lamentable the miscalculations and failures of those who have not this light ! Consider how much you need the science of God, and how deficient you are in it. Resolve to apply yourself to it. Ask God to infuse it into your soul.
II. The remedy for ignorance and inconsideration is to be found in knowledge and meditation on Devotional Theology. As a science it will perfect the understanding, as devotion, the will. By this we shall learn to know of God and His attributes, the deep mysteries of the Trinity, the holy spirits who will be our companions for eternity, the significance of creation. We shall understand more about Our Lord Jesus Christ in His double nature as God and man, and the lessons of His life ; His Blessed Mother also, in whom we can study mere human nature brought to its highest expression by the plenitude of grace and close association with the three Divine Persons. We shall be able to cast light upon the great problems that have perpetually exercised men s minds the origin of evil, the per mission of sin and suffering, the object of our existence, the law of our perfection and happiness, the secrets of the future life, the designs of God s Providence. We shall study God s commands, the nature of virtue, the graces by which we are aided; and we shall receive comfort, strength, illumination, certainty, such as earthly science cannot give us. This divine study will lead us through knowledge to the love of God and the practical ordering of our lives. Beseech God to give you Wisdom that sitteth by His throne, to send her from the throne of His Majesty, to be with you, and labour with you, and preserve you by her power (Wisd. ix.).
III. To attain to this divine science, the prime necessity, beyond all talent and cultivation, is purity of soul. Only the pure of heart can see God. " Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins " (Wisd. i. 4). The intellect must be purified by faith, which eliminates perturbing errors and dispels the mists that cloud the spiritual vision. The will is purified by innocence of life and adhesion to God in love. These faculties, like all others, are susceptible of cultivation, and of being perfected to an extent incredible to those who have not personal experience of it; they become sensitive to the finer vibrations of divine light and divine warmth which are lost upon the coarser sensibilities of the worldly, the selfish, the proud. Deplore the many impurities of your mind and affections. Ask God to send His angel with a burning coal from the altar to touch your heart and lips, and to purify you, if needs be, by fire, so that you may be capable of dwelling on His mysteries, singing His praises and loving Him. "To know Thee is perfect justice: and to know Thy justice and Thy power is the root of immortality " (Wisd. xv. 3).