The Incarnation and Grace

In 1980, just after I had met him for the first time, Father John Hardon, S.J. said something to me privately that also became more and more important in my own later life, especially in my growing understanding of our Catholic Faith. He simply said: “We must live the Parable of the Sower.”

As Father Hardon then proceeded to shed a little more light on these words, he noted that in the Parable of the Sower–where Our Lord also gave His Own exegesis to that Parable, His longest Parable–there is an especially intimate analogous relation between “the soil” and “the soul.” That is to say, between the attentive “Cultivation of the Soil” and the attentive “Cultivation of the Soul.” He then added: “If we do not continue to grow in the disciplined and cultivated and more fertile understanding of our Catholic Faith, we shall lose it.” Father’s words were to me also a deep and fresh way of understanding the incisive Latin formulation, “Fides quaerens intellectum.” Faith seeking understanding–and continually! We must not (by our allowing them to remain unexercised) let our faculties atrophy. And we must keep an increasingly fertile field “well-weeded’! For–as Beatrice taught the negligent and all-too-slack Dante the Pilgrim in Purgatory–weeds grow faster in a very fertile soil, in a soil such as loam. We must, God willing, thus come to exercise the full range of our faculties along lines of excellence. Hence more and more to live a life of virtue: the fuller range of the virtues, both in nature and in grace.

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  • veritasetgratia

    A very helpful article. Painful too. There is no Third way for the Catholic faith. How could there be a moderate position between Truth and opinion? The moderate position is still just opinion. I have experienced personally the mandate that Liberals should work with Conservatives and charismatics was enforced in certainly 2 of our archdioceses here from the mid 1990’s. That can only have happened because it was requested in Rome, and that approach was deemed to be a moderate approach!! No one was permitted to ‘rock the boat’. The official catechetic products of that period are mostly opinions and disseminated throughout the catholic school system. The “Truth[” elements are inserted in a random fashion so they fail to be taken seriously. Supposedly this was deemed to be fair and just to everyone! Except to Christ of course whose idea the “Church” is. It’s obvious that few have read Ratzinger’s Principles of Catholic Theology. I havent and when I can summon the courage, will. Another shocking quote from Pope Benedict regarding idol-smashers as “fanatics” and hotheads ” who were unable to see paganism as anything more than idolatry that had to be radically eliminated” comes from “Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World: A conversation with Peter Seewald”. In my opinion, the Bishops and Theologians driving the plans at V2 have failed to realise that left to itself, without Christian civilisation based on moral absolutes and Truth as reality, human civilisation cannot maintain itself but will descend into chaos. It will not progress. It will not evolve to a higher order. Had they left the Catholic Church as an ongoing sign of contradiction, then the choice would have been easier for people in a decaying unravelling civilisation. But the decision to no longer be satisfied with conversions one by one, but to contract large-scale ‘movements of people’ has fallen on its face. We need enough Cardinals and a Pope who can face the disaster, unless the plan is for everyone to just hold hands with the atheistic secularists who despise religion and somehow God will change His requirements for human salvation!