The Church has made this doctrine of sanctification and salvation hers. The Doctors and Masters of the spiritual life have made of it an invincible Code, a sovereign means of sanctification for souls. Their teaching is a doctrine complete, definite, fixed, determined, sacred, sacred on account of its origin, its object and its end, which is God. It is a universal doctrine addressed to all, to the learned and the simple, to small and great, rich and poor, to every age and class and rank and state. It is a doctrine which makes its appeal to all the faculties, the intelligence, the will, the heart. It satisfies all needs, all aspirations, all demands. It embraces everything, mysteries divine and mysteries human. It solves all problems, reads all riddles, answers all questions. It is for time and eternity.
It tells us what God is, whence we are and whither we are bound. It tells us what we must do and avoid, that virtue will be rewarded and wrongdoing punished. Relying upon these promises, man walks safely and sleeps peacefully because he knows that God does not deceive, that His word is true and that over his grave will throb the certainty of a glorious and immortal awakening.
It was by following this code of doctrine that the saints sanctified themselves. Outside it, we have ethics, natural, variable, limited; not perfection, divine, true, meritorious.
It was not by following the philosophical teaching of Plato, of Confucius, of Mahomet, of Averroes, or of our modern philosophers that the saints of every rank have climbed the ladder of perfection; it was by following the evangelical doctrine preached by the Saviour and taught by the Church. It is needless to add that this same doctrine is ‘necessary to everyone who desires to attain salvation and to arrive at perfection.’
(To be continued.)