And man, in a limited but still magnificent measure, shares in these gifts.
The human body, by its physical structure, by the strength, harmony and perfection of its organs and its limbs, is the image of the power, the wisdom and the goodness of God.
But it is especially of the soul that I would speak to you, for when all is said, it is the soul which gives man his value. It is the noblest part of the human whole, the mistress of the house, to command and to bear responsibility. Man does not live only by his body, but mainly through his soul. The true life is not that which is visible but that which is hidden, that of the soul. Hence the necessity of the interior life for all.
The life of the soul is a double one, physical and supernatural, deriving, the first from nature, by creation, and the second from grace, by redemption and baptism.
In its physical and spiritual constitution, the human soul is a perfect image of God. Its admirable faculties are a faithful reflection of the divine Persons. It exists as does the Father, thinks as does the Son, and loves as does the Holy Ghost.
It is a spirit, pure, spiritual, as God is. It is immortal even as God is eternal. If it limits its aspirations to earthly finite things, its life has no meaning. It has wings that it may soar towards loftier ideas and spheres and destinies. Wrapped in a human shell, it feels cabined, imprisoned. It sees that the visible earth is not ‘a lasting city,’ that this life, dim and limited, wedged between two mysteries, nothingness and death, is only a beginning, a pilgrimage towards life eternal. Like an immortal chrysalis it awaits the day when it iwll emerge and soar towards the mansions of its eternity, into its Father’s dwelling-place.
And what is the attraction? God. And why? Because God has placed within us something of Himself, something which through all the living and deep forces of nature draws us with an irresistible impulse toward Him Who is our Center, our Magnet, our Ideal, our End, the Ocean into which the waters of our soul, as of a little stream, cannot but flow. And this invincible attraction proves that the soul is made in the image of God and that God, as it were, draws it to Himself. ‘Thou hast made us for Thyself,’ says S. Augustine.
But that is not all, nor is it enough. In this divine resemblance the soul must rise further.
God has a life peculiar to Himself, incommunicable by nature. He has willed to communicate it to us by grace, in creation, Redemption and Baptism.
‘In his origins,’ says Père Plus, ‘man, over and above his nature, is endowed with marvelous gifts, of which the chief is a loving participation in the very life of the Blessed Trinity.
‘Man, by original sin, loses this supernatural treasure. All is not irremediably lost. God decides to give back to man this ineffable participation in His own life’ some accessory gifts of a temporal nature alone will not be restored.
‘To carry out this restitution, God chose to come Himself upon earth. The Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, becomes incarnate, once Mary has been asked if she accepts the honour and the martyrdom of such a Motherhood. Thanks to this Redemption, this buying back, we are once more divine in our humanity…images restored to the divine semblance.’
(To be continued.)