Rorate Caeli

"This man's religion is in vain"

Dearly beloved, Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass: for he beheld himself and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was. But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work: this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue but deceiving his own heart, this man's religion is in vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God and Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one's self unspotted from this world. (Epistle for the Fifth Sunday after Easter - Saint James, i, 22-27)
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It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all. There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church. On the bases of liberalism and laicism they wished to build other social edifices which, powerful and imposing as they seemed at first, all too soon revealed the weakness of their foundations, and today are crumbling one after another before our eyes, as everything must crumble that is not grounded on the one corner stone which is Christ Jesus.

This, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine of the Church, which alone in the social as in all other fields can offer real light and assure salvation in the face of Communistic ideology. But this doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice in every-day life, according to the admonition of St. .James the Apostle: "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

The most urgent need of the present day is therefore the energetic and timely application of remedies which will effectively ward off the catastrophe that daily grows more threatening. We cherish the firm hope that the fanaticism with which the sons of darkness work day and night at their materialistic and atheistic propaganda will at least serve the holy purpose of stimulating the sons of light to a like and even greater zeal for the honor of the Divine Majesty.

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Even in Catholic countries there are still too many who are Catholics hardly more than in name. There are too many who fulfill more or less faithfully the more essential obligations of the religion they boast of professing, but have no desire of knowing it better, of deepening their inward conviction, and still less of bringing into conformity with the external gloss the inner splendor of a right and unsullied conscience, that recognizes and performs all its duties under the eye of God.

We know how much Our Divine Savior detested this empty pharisaic show, He Who wished that all should adore the Father "in spirit and in truth." The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenseless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian.
Pius XI
Divini Redemptoris

3 comments:

Vox said...

Utterly prophetic!

Walter said...

yes, and beautiful in its call for faithfulness and love of the Truth and the Church.

Giangaleazzo said...

The main point is the call for Catholics to know and study their faith deeply. This was already willed by Pope Leo XIII, and is most imperative in these days, when so much fallacy is being spread. But "fallacies do not stop being fallacies by becoming fashions," as Chesterton said. If Catholics heeded this call, they would long for traditional teaching, flock to traditional chapels and be filled with the sweet milk our wonderful Faith may fill us. Oremus!