FAITH is the edifice of a Christian life. It is, of itself, a mere

shell, so to speak, for unless good works sustain and adorn it, it will

crumble, and the Almighty in His day will reduce it to ashes; faith

without works is of no avail. The corner stone of this edifice is the

authority of the word of God, while His gratuitous grace, our

intelligence and will furnish the material for building. Now, there are

three featu
es of that spiritual construction that deserve a moment's


First, the edifice is solid; our faith must be firm. No hesitation, no

wavering, no deliberate doubting, no suspicion, no take-and-leave. What

we believe comes from God, and we have the infallible authority of the

Church for it, and of that we must be certain. That certainly must not

for a moment falter, and the moment it does falter, there is no telling

but that the whole edifice so laboriously raised will tumble down upon

the guilty shoulders of the imprudent doubter.

And of reasons for hesitating and disbelieving there is absolutely

none, once we have made the venture of faith and believe sincerely and

reasonably. No human power can in reason impugn revealed truths for

they are impervious to human intelligence. One book may not at the same

time be three books; but can one divine nature be at one and the same

time three divine persons? Until we learn what divinity and personality

are we can affirm nothing on the authority of pure reason. If we cannot

assert, how can we deny? And if we know nothing about it, how can we do

either? The question is not how is it, but if it is. While it stands

thus, and thus ever it must stand, no objection or doubt born of human

mind can influence our belief. Nothing but pride of mind and corruption

of heart can disturb it.

If you have a difficulty, well, it is a difficulty, and nothing more. A

difficulty does not destroy a thesis that is solidly founded. Once a

truth is clearly established, not all the difficulties in the world can

make it an untruth. A difficulty as to the truth revealed argues an

imperfect intelligence; it is idle to complain that we are finite. A

difficulty regarding the infallible Church should not make her less

infallible in our mind, it simply demands a clearing away-Theological

difficulties should not surprise a novice in theological matters; they

are only misunderstandings that militate less against the Church than

against the erroneous notions we have of her. To allow such

difficulties to undermine faith is like overthrowing a solid wall with

a soap-bubble. Common sense demands that nothing but clearly

demonstrated falsity should make us change firm convictions, and such

demonstration can never be made against our faith.

Not from difficulties, properly speaking, but from our incapacity for

understanding what we accept as true, results a certain obscurity,

which is another feature of faith. Believing is not seeing. Such

strange things we do believe! Who can unravel the mysteries of

religion? Moral certitude is sufficient to direct one's life, to make

our acts human and moral and is all we can expect in this world where

nothing is perfect. But because the consequences of faith are so

far-reaching, we would believe nothing short of absolute, metaphysical


But this is impossible. Hence the mist, the vague dimness that

surrounds faith, baffling every effort to penetrate it; and within, a

sense of rarefied perception that disquiets and torments unless

humility born of common sense be there to soothe and set us at rest.

Moral truths are not geometric theorems and multiplication tables, and

it is not necessary that they should be.

Of course, if, as in science so in faith, reason were everything, our

position would hardly be tenable, for then there should be no vagueness

but clear vision. But the will enters for something in our act of

faith. If everything we believe were as luminous as "two and two are

four," a special act of the will would be utterly uncalled for. We must

be able, free to dissent, and this is the reason of the obscurity of

our faith.

It goes without saying that such belief is meritorious. Christ Himself

said that to be saved it is necessary to believe, and no man is saved

but through his own merit. Faith is, therefore, gratuitous on His part

and meritorious on ours. It is in reality a good work that proceeds

from the will, under the dictates of right reason, with the assistance

of divine grace.