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Rev. Wilfred G. Hurley, C.S.P.
One of the most powerful, able and influential men in the world today. A man honored, respected and admired by all, was asked: 'To what do you attribute your unparalleled success?
He replied: 'To one thing alone! I have never deceived myself! I face the facts!
You have been created! You exist!
What is the purpose of it all?
RELIGION IS REASON!
Life comes, life passes, life departs. As an actor on a stage you make your entrance. Act your part. Speak your lines, and step out. One and all, passing down through the ages. A vast procession. A cavalcade. Marching onward. Never pausing. Never returning. From infinity to infinity. From eternity to eternity. From the abyss of nothingness to the realm of endless ages.
It is the infinite plan of God coming into existence. His omnipotence shaping and molding the workings of His infinite mind. With a lavishness that seems incredible. With an immensity that is colossal. Even with a seeming wastefulness that beggars description. Yet, even in the most minute detail His infinite beauty, order, and sublimity shine forth. With a power, a might, and a glory that stagger your comprehension.
You cannot understand. You cannot conceive.
Your petty, puny, earth-bound mind is only too hopelessly inadequate.
Yet, you are a part of this plan. You know it.
You exist. You live. Your Creator, God, has brought you out from absolute nothingness.
You had nothing to say about it. Certainly, you did not deserve this priceless gift of existence. And not only that. He
might have created you an instinct-guided animal; He might have created you as a tree, or a blade of grass; He might have made you as a lifeless rock; even that would have been an inestimable gift.
But He has created you a human being. Thinking! Reasoning! Loving! Choosing your own destiny! The lord and master of all this creation. All creation! Yours to use. Yours to enjoy. Yours to serve you. You are the living child of the living God!
Why is it thus with you?
Why is this priceless gift of existence given you? And why this exalted place in His scheme of creation? Your reason tells you that there is only one explanation. It is because of the infinite goodness and love of this Infinite God.
But, if God loves you enough to reveal Himself to you in creation, and to reveal His essential desires by His voice speaking to your conscience; if God loved you enough to call you out of nothingness to give you such a supreme place in His plan of creation, it is only reasonable that He would make a revelation-tell you what it was all about. The Truths of Life, Death and Eternity. And how you should live in accordance with these truths. If necessary God would perform miracles that you could thus know and reach Him. The very fact that you exist, as you are, makes this indisputably true.
For God thus to reveal Himself is not only fitting because of God's goodness, but it is necessary on account of the na- ture with which God has endowed each and every one of us.
AN INBORN CRAVING
Every man has a constant, natural craving to know something of God. To know something of his own destiny and the plan of life. But above all, every man has an inborn craving for happiness, by which we really mean the craving for God Himself. The greatest intellects of the world have recognized this. Thus, St. Augustine, fifteen hundred years ago, could cry out:
'Our hearts were made for Thee, O God,
And restless must they be Until, O God, this grace accord
Until they rest in Thee.
God wants you for Himself-and you must go to Him! But how can you do this? There is only one way. God Himself
must teach you. He must reveal Himself to you. That God is perfect Love, precludes any different conclusion. Is there any other way by which you know God has made a revelation of Himself to mankind?
Do not the trials and sorrows of this life reveal Him? Was it not really a happy thought of the poet who wrote: 'Sweet
are the uses of adversity?
If there were no nights, but only perpetual days, you could never have reached any conception of the immensity and grandeur of the universe. You could only see the blue vault of Heaven. You could only know the sun. Could have a dim idea of the moon, perhaps, but no more. And then, God ordains that darkness envelop the earth . . . the Heavens are revealed!
On some little hilltop as in a watch-tower, you take in all the vastness and sublimity of the universe. You see revealed the omnipotence and the glory of the Infinite God.
Thus would the sorrows of life do their part to reveal Him to you.
No life is free from evil-whether the evil comes in the form of sickness, affliction or suffering. Or from the greatest source of misery, 'Man's inhumanity to man.
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
No man living, but has asked himself the question: 'I wonder what it is all about? Life seems so hard. And yet so futile. What are you here upon earth for anyway? Surely, not just to work, and work hard for a span of years. To raise others for a life just as hard and trying. And at the end of your life. old age with its mockery. The illness of life, the sickness and the suffering. The dread of poverty and all that it implies and at the end, horrible death, dreaded as only those who dread annihilation can dread it.
'Time passes and the things of the world pass with it. And with the passing, you too. Every hour you acquire more and more the characteristics that make you, give you, the name 'old. Every hour is bringing you closer to that moment when you must follow Christ into the valley of the unknown. Every minute is pushing you relentlessly on and on. Frantically as you strive, you cannot bring back a single second.
Surely, an infinitely good God could not have placed you here on this earth without revealing to you why you must undergo these things, the purpose of it all. The reason why you are here.
Need it not necessarily be that every hour of wretchedness and want, every day of suffering and misery, every fight against passion and sin, every struggle for virtue and holiness is a step up that ladder of Jacob which leads from earth to the eternal Kingdom of God?
Then, too, you seek for happiness. And who does not? But who has ever found it? Can pleasure, gaiety, wealth, dissipation, song, and dance, wine and mirth, make you happy? No! They fail and fail utterly. Hopelessly! Looking down the vista of the ages you see the vast procession of mankind, all in one voice testifying that earthly things cannot fill up that void in man's heart.
For life in its stern reality is a pilgrimage of sorrow. We come into this world only through pain. We depart in a similar manner. Centuries ago it was written of this world that we are here to be tried as gold is tried in a furnace fire. Tried and tested by fire until all that is dross is burned away. No man is, ever has been, or ever will be, an exception to this. Why is this so? What is the object of it all?
Picture a wanderer on a pathless desert! Freezing with cold. Burning with thirst. Lashed by the storms of the merciless elements. Not knowing whence he came, or whither he goes. With the heavens above blacker than night. And in his suffering and want. in his wretchedness and misery, no reassuring hope. No consolation.
Thus you would be, if God did not reveal Himself.
Your reasoning powers, your thinking ability, your faculties for considering the future, would be as just so many diabolical instruments of torture.
Your whole being cries out: God must have made a revelation!
In the world, however, there are only three possible revelations: Buddhism. Mohammedanism, and Christianity. But Buddha never even claimed to teach anything about God. Buddhism is religion with God left out. His idea seems
to have been not so much to seek happiness as it was to avoid unhappiness. This was to be done by suppressing all desires. To let neither love, nor vanity. nor ambition, nor any earthly desire. have place in the heart. In other words. if you suppress all your desires you would never wish for anything. If you would never wish or desire anything, you would be content. After all-a teaching not so very brilliant. Furthermore, in many of its teachings, Buddhism directly contradicts reason.
There are some good things in Buddhism. But this is to be expected. For there are some teachings in it that are simply the teachings of the natural law written on every human heart. But in justice to Buddha, he really never claimed anything else. Nor pretended that his teachings had a divine origin.
Mohammedanism by its very teachings disqualifies itself as being the revelation of God. It does teach the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, but its teachings concerning Heaven are so carnal and beastly that it disgusts any decent-thinking man. Itopenly caters to the lowest passions of man. Its 'Paradise with the worldly and cheaply sensual pleasures promised in the socalled 'world-tocome, flatly contradict the spirituality and immortality of the soul.
And while Mohammed claimed to be a prophet, yet he could show no credentials. Neither fulfillment of prophecy nor miracles can be brought forth to prove his assertions. The rapid spread of his doctrines in that small circumscribed region where they flourish was due solely to the sword.
Thus by the process of elimination there is only one revelation left and that is the revelation of Christianity, through Judaism.
It cannot be seriously disputed that Christianity is the one, true revelation of God. Its leading doctrines are above the mentality of men even to conceive. The proofs it gives to justify itself, are in themselves divine. For they consist of a succession of prophecies undeniably fulfilled. Miracles of which only God could be the Author. The principal miracle being the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
And lastly, by holding out a final destiny beyond our natural powers, and offering supernatural help to enable attainment of this destiny. Thus, it is a supernatural religion. Supernatural in its doctrines, its credentials, and its aims.
In conclusion, the Christian revelation is a revelation which bears all the marks of God's Divinity.
What I mean is this: God is a God of infinite love and mercy and justice. Hence, His true revelation should have these same qualities, in the same infinite degree. It should be a revelation of infinite love and mercy and justice.
God is a God of infinite unity; hence. His true revelation should be the same. No clashing of systems, no babble of authority.
God is a God of infinite and absolute truth. Hence, in His revelation there should be no contradiction, no error.
God is a God of infinite wisdom. His revelation should have the same quality. Absolutely logical, reasonable, and perfectly consistent. Satisfying your common sense. Coinciding with your experiences. Proving true to whatever knowledge you may have, and as you advance in knowledge, your certainty and satisfaction in this true revelation can only grow stronger and more certain. The same with science, when science proves its theories to be facts.
To be brief, since God created you with whatever faculties you may possess, in His one true revelation He not only should, but must, satisfy these faculties completely.
If you believe in God at all, you must believe this.
And in all the world, down through the ages of time, there is but one revelation that does this. And make no mistake, there is this one revelation that does so prove itself. Proving its divinity with a divine, indisputable thoroughness.
And where is this Revelation? The truths of Life, Death and Eternity! What God would have you believe! How He would have you live! That you may know! Where will you find this?
You will find it in the Catholic Church! And there only!
That is a strong statement! Terrific in its import! Not only strong but uncompromising! Hence you demand, 'By what authority can the Catholic Church say this?
You are a living child of the Living God. A being with reason and intelligence. And you have every right to ask that question. To demand an answer!
And the Catholic Church answers you!
'I speak to you with the authority of God Himself. And if you will only investigate, God Himself will do the rest.
ARTHUR J. SCANLAN, S.T.D., Censor Librorum.
@ PATRICK CARDINAL HAYES, Archbishop of New York.
New York, September 14, 1934.
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